Little change to Erika; Jimena makes landfall as a Category 2 hurricane

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:30 PM GMT on September 02, 2009

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Tropical Storm Erika remains weak and disorganized, and the future track and intensity of the storm remain highly uncertain. The center has jumped several times over the past 12 hours, and now lies exposed to view, west of the main area of heavy thunderstorms. Radar animations out of Martinique show little organization of the echoes, and satellite imagery shows no low-level spiral bands or upper-level outflow. Wind shear analyses from the University of Wisconsin diagnose a moderate 10 - 15 knots of shear over Erika, a decrease from yesterday. SSTs are warm, 29°C. The Hurricane Hunters are in the storm now, and have found a slight increase in the surface winds, up to 45 mph. They noted that the surface center was displaced 12 miles north of the center they found at 1500 feet, which is the sign of a disorganized storm undergoing wind shear.

The forecast for Erika
Erika is embedded in a weak steering current pattern, and the storm's current state of disorganization is allowing the center to make random jumps as it reforms near the heaviest thunderstorm activity. This makes for a low-confidence forecast. The future track of the storm will depend upon how strong the storm gets over the next few days. A stronger Erika will extend higher into the atmosphere and be steered more to the northwest by upper-level winds. A weaker Erika will be steered more by the low-level winds, which will keep the storm on a more westerly track. The intensity forecast models did a poor job with Tropical Storm Danny last week, and appear to be repeating that poor performance with Erika. All of the major intensity forecast models predict substantial strengthening of Erika. This seems unlikely to occur, given the storm's current disorganization, and the predicted increase in wind shear along the path of Erika to 20 - 25 knots 3 - 5 days from now. The more southerly than expected track of the storm also brings the possibility that Erika will encounter the high mountains of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The GFS, GFDL, and Canadian models predict Erika will pass near Puerto Rico on Friday, then move over Hispaniola on Saturday. Erika in its current weak state would probably not survive an encounter with these islands. A wide range of scenarios is still possible for Erika, from outright dissipation (as forecast by the GFS, Canadian, and ECMWF models) to intensification to a Category 3 hurricane (as forecast by the HWRF model). Erika is a long-term threat to the Bahamas and U.S. East Coast if it is still around five days from now. Potential landfall locations range from Florida on Tuesday to North Carolina on Wednesday. The NOGAPS model has Erika potentially missing the U.S. entirely, scooting northwards between North Carolina and Bermuda. My current expectation is that Erika will dissipate on Saturday when it encounters Hispaniola.


Figure 1. Afternoon image of Tropical Storm Erika. The swirl of clouds just west of Guadeloupe island is the center. This center was what I had labeled a "false center" in this morning's post, and has taken over as the main center this afternoon.

Hurricane Jimena hits Baja
Hurricane Jimena made lanndfall on Mexico's Baja Peninsula late this morning near Cabo San Lazaro as a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds. Jimena is the 2nd strongest hurricane to hit Baja's west coast since record keeping began in 1949. The only stronger storm was Hurricane Norbert, which made landfall in 2008 on the central Baja coast with sustained winds of 105 mph. Jimena has now weakened to a Category 1 storm, and will continue to weaken as it hits colder waters and interacts with land. No deaths or major damage have been reported from the storm.


Figure 2. Hurricane Jimena on Tuesday, Sep. 1, 2009, as seen by NASA's MODIS instrument. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

California fire webcams
As I discussed in yesterday morning's post, you can use our wundermap for Los Angeles with the fire layer turned on to see where the fire and smoke are located, and track the temperatures and winds during today's air pollution event. We also have two webcams with views of the fire: Altadena and Tujunga.

I'll have an update Thursday morning.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting stormsurge39:
If Erika keeps going due west it wont hit Hispaniola, right?


Correct, it's a longshot from it actually happening, but the tends are showing no northerly movement yet. We basically don't know what Erika is going to do, even the NHC has low confidence in there forecast. One of the most difficult storms I've ever tracked so far... Of course there was Fay :/
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1172. i totally agree. the same is true for NoScript. it can be a pain because you have to configure it to get certain scripts to run, but it sure works well!
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1185. Patrap
Quoting CosmicEvents:

I know.
I was surprised to see it myself. I figured that it was midweek, when lots of ships are in the area, and checked it out, hereLink
Looks like all the other ships got out of dodge, but this one got caught. At sea. And it looks like there might be another one in or near port in Martinique.


The seas arent that rough anyway..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128609
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
At the current position there is not much land or anything except very warm Caribbean waters.


yeah but in general do models react different to land like hispanola vs flordia?
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1183. Relix
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Convection over Erika's center of circulation once again diminishing, a sign of a weakening system:



But what if the REAL circulation is the one to the north? =)
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1182. IKE
Quoting StadiumEffect:
Sometimes I wonder why I'm even on here or any other tropical weather site, because this system is seriously annoying with its multiple vorticies and constant reformations. Not to mention the mess of a track its been taking. This has got to be one of the most annoying ever! haha.

On another note, the wave ready to exit the African coast is looking very healthy with what appears to be mid-level cyclonic turning.


Reminds me of Danny. COC void of convection or very little of it. Blob of convection east of it. Just like Danny.
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Quoting IKE:
Moving: W at 1 mph


It should reach Florida by Thanksgiving!


lol
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Looks like the horrible GFS model might of nailed Erika from the start. It never showed it doing much and turned it into a remnant low.
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
I thought that this unexpected movement might have caught a cruise ship or 2 in the wrong spot, and sure enough.
.
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Wherever the center is, the weather is down around Martinique, and it looks like we have a cruise ship, the Royal Caribbean Adventure Of The Seas, that's in the midst of the approaching worst of the weather. It's presently located at 14.1N and 61.1WLink
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Those passengers are in for a bit of an adventure.


Hardly an adventure. When I was on my Alaska cruise in July the captain told me that they got caught in a NE Pacific Gale equivalent to a Cat 5 hurricane with 12 meter seas on the same Alaska run that we were on. The ship, Serenade of the Seas, was in it for 12 hours with a constant list due to partial beam on wind. Winds were well over 150 mph.

The ship returned safely to port in Vancouver without incident. You can google the story I believe. The ship is 90,000 tons and a little over 1000 feet long, 105 foot beam.

They can take a lot of punishment.
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1178. 7544
THAT GFDL is seeing somthing in if ericka still is a low and reaches the bahammas she might find her hot spot it s beenn very consistant on developing it there as per the harwf but the cmc did and drop it maybe it will come back on the next run . i think miss e will have good dmax tonight so ill give her another shot
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Patrap remember what division your in.
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Quoting 100l:


How do you know where cruise ships are?

You google "ships at sea locator".........
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Quoting Patrap:


That would really surprise me as Cruise Ships have avoidance software and The Best available Weather Info..by Law.


as Cruise Ships have avoidance software

LOL
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Quoting farhaonhebrew:
I've been reading your posts since the 94L began to be monitored .. and I must say that you were the ONLY one who constantly says that Erika would be in the Caribbean ...I just hope thepost that it will be a powerful hurricane not become true...greetings from Puerto Rico.


I agree.. he also correctly predicted that the recon flight would find a 50 mph ts when others were saying the flight could be canceled and the system was deteriorating.
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1164. AVG works well, it's free and easy to use.
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1172. Patrap
Quoting pearlandaggie:
if you're using Firefox, along with AdBlock, you can download the add-on NoScript which will block all scripts (including Java and Flash) on sites until you approve them to run. this will prevent any scripts from running on a website by accident. hope this helps...


Adbloc is great,I have it and it works wunders.

Sometime I have to disengage it for some scripts,Loop related to run,but its worth that Lil time for the added protection.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128609
Quoting Tazmanian:




hello dr m what you think about that impressive wave that this about too come off
I'm not Jeff but I think it should become a TD in 3 to 5 days after emerging completely off the coast of Africa.
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Quoting Patrap:


That would really surprise me as Cruise Ships have avoidance software and The Best available Weather Info..by Law.

I know.
I was surprised to see it myself. I figured that it was midweek, when lots of ships are in the area, and checked it out, hereLink
Looks like all the other ships got out of dodge, but this one got caught. At sea. And it looks like there might be another one in or near port in Martinique.
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Quoting reedzone:


I meant for tonight, course Hispaniola will weaken it. That is the main reason why the NHC kills it along with 20-30 knots of wind shear. With the way things are going, I won't be surprised if Erika ever turns NW for a while. Just keeps on chugging west very slowly.
If Erika keeps going due west it wont hit Hispaniola, right?
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Quoting centrfla:
hi taz...hows the weather in your area??



its doing well
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This is such a freaky storm.....

I think I'll go lie down for a while now. Maybe my headache will go away.....
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Quoting stormpetrol:
I'm beginning to wonder if Erika has been an embarrassment of some sort.
I've been reading your posts since the 94L began to be monitored .. and I must say that you were the ONLY one who constantly says that Erika would be in the Caribbean ...I just hope thepost that it will be a powerful hurricane not become true...greetings from Puerto Rico.
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Quoting JeffMasters:
Many of you using the McAfee virus protection software reported today that wunderground web pages were triggering a Trojan virus alert.
Our thought at this point, from looking at the tickets, is that McAfee updated their virus files today and they've once again included JavaScript that is compressed with the compression tools we use, in their list. This is a false alarm.

Jeff Masters




hello dr m what you think about that impressive wave that this about too come off
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1164. Patrap
ZoneAlarm and AVG work well and are very easy to use tools
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128609
I'm getting the McAfee alert also. Started tonight and is on both my systems. Message reads something like below:

McAfee has automatically blocked and removed a Trojan.
Detected : JS/Exploit-Packed c.gen(Trojan)…
Mootools-wu-1.11(1)s
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1161. 100l
Quoting CosmicEvents:
I thought that this unexpected movement might have caught a cruise ship or 2 in the wrong spot, and sure enough.
.
.
Wherever the center is, the weather is down around Martinique, and it looks like we have a cruise ship, the Royal Caribbean Adventure Of The Seas, that's in the midst of the approaching worst of the weather. It's presently located at 14.1N and 61.1WLink
.
.
.
Those passengers are in for a bit of an adventure.


How do you know where cruise ships are?
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Quoting TreasureCoastFl:


I meant for tonight, course Hispaniola will weaken it. That is the main reason why the NHC kills it along with 20-30 knots of wind shear. With the way things are going, I won't be surprised if Erika ever turns NW for a while. Just keeps on chugging west very slowly.
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Convection over Erika's center of circulation once again diminishing, a sign of a weakening system:

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if you're using Firefox, along with AdBlock, you can download the add-on NoScript which will block all scripts (including Java and Flash) on sites until you approve them to run. this will prevent any scripts from running on a website by accident. hope this helps...
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Sometimes I wonder why I'm even on here or any other tropical weather site, because this system is seriously annoying with its multiple vorticies and constant reformations. Not to mention the mess of a track its been taking. This has got to be one of the most annoying ever! haha.

On another note, the wave ready to exit the African coast is looking very healthy with what appears to be mid-level cyclonic turning.
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1156. 7544
THANKS ADMIN AND DR MASTERS
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Quoting futuremet:
18Z HWRF- Erikane
WOW! A monster! ROFL
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1154. Patrap
Quoting JeffMasters:
Many of you using the McAfee virus protection software reported today that wunderground web pages were triggering a Trojan virus alert.
Our thought at this point, from looking at the tickets, is that McAfee updated their virus files today and they've once again included JavaScript that is compressed with the compression tools we use, in their list. This is a false alarm.

Jeff Masters


Thanx for the Info Dr. Masters.

That would make sense since its triggering the McAfee protection. Very much appreciated.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128609
1153. msphar
Landwave but will it float ? Or turn to flotsam ?
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Quoting JeffMasters:
Many of you using the McAfee virus protection software reported today that wunderground web pages were triggering a Trojan virus alert.
Our thought at this point, from looking at the tickets, is that McAfee updated their virus files today and they've once again included JavaScript that is compressed with the compression tools we use, in their list. This is a false alarm.

Jeff Masters


ha!Figures, I don't know why anyone uses McAfee anymore. so many better AV softwares out there.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 473
hi taz...hows the weather in your area??
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Quoting JeffMasters:
Many of you using the McAfee virus protection software reported today that wunderground web pages were triggering a Trojan virus alert.
Our thought at this point, from looking at the tickets, is that McAfee updated their virus files today and they've once again included JavaScript that is compressed with the compression tools we use, in their list. This is a false alarm.

Jeff Masters


Yes, some Antivirus softwares tend to have many false positives.
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Thank you for the update, Jeff.
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Quoting JeffMasters:
Many of you using the McAfee virus protection software reported today that wunderground web pages were triggering a Trojan virus alert.
Our thought at this point, from looking at the tickets, is that McAfee updated their virus files today and they've once again included JavaScript that is compressed with the compression tools we use, in their list. This is a false alarm.

Jeff Masters
Thanks for letting us know.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8391
Quoting reedzone:
em. Only one small band of 30 knot shear to the west, after that, conditions are favorable.



unless you count that little place called Hispaniola?
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 473
I'm back
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1144. Patrap
Quoting CosmicEvents:
I thought that this unexpected movement might have caught a cruise ship or 2 in the wrong spot, and sure enough.
.
.
Wherever the center is, the weather is down around Martinique, and it looks like we have a cruise ship, the Royal Caribbean Adventure Of The Seas, that's in the midst of the approaching worst of the weather. It's presently located at 14.1N and 61.1WLink
.
.
.
Those passengers are in for a bit of an adventure.


That would really surprise me as Cruise Ships have avoidance software and The Best available Weather Info..by Law.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128609
1143. msphar
Erika is sort of a superfreak of nature.
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Quoting drj10526:



do the models like this take into account the terrain below the storm like mountains vs. flat land? not just land or ocean but the shape, size, dimensions of the land the storm travels over? thanks
At the current position there is not much land or anything except very warm Caribbean waters.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8391
Looks like quickscats a miss for Erika tonight, saw that coming.
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1140. JeffMasters (Admin)
Many of you using the McAfee virus protection software reported today that wunderground web pages were triggering a Trojan virus alert.
Our thought at this point, from looking at the tickets, is that McAfee updated their virus files today and they've once again included JavaScript that is compressed with the compression tools we use, in their list. This is a false alarm.

Jeff Masters
By far the most impressive wave all year.

-90C tops.

Circulation appears to be emerging now.
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Quoting connie1976:
Is Erika gone yet? lol

lol
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anybody see the circulation at 18N 56W

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t2/rb-l.jpg

could be one of two possibilities

1. it is another LLC circulation that is now in the mix

2. It is the MLC detaching from LLC meaning a non vertically stacked system and will likely weaken to TD tonight

also if LLC weakens this MLC can work down to surface and erika would thus restrengthen


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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.